Countdown to Berlin,
Helsinki and St Petersburg
Part II

After Part I and Before Paul's Countdown

May 2002

Sunday, May 12, 2002

"The saddest moment in a man's life is when he becomes the recipient or beneficiary of elevator (lift) etiquette." - Otis

Over the last couple of years The House of Corkscrew Balloon Dot Com has, from time to time, 'republished' ads from the "FRIENDSHIPS" section of the International Herald Tribune. As the 'houses' of Gabriel Thiers-Bense and Edith Brigitta Fahrenkrog have usually offered the most 'meat', we at THOCBDC have given them the most attention. Every Saturday they could be safely relied upon to provide the most detailed menus of their 'dish of the week'.

As the product lines from these two 'houses' were so dazzlingly similar,1 we at THOCBDC started to think of them not so much as the McDonalds and the Burger Kings ... the great global competitors ... of the 'other' flesh market ... no, sadly, we fell into the trap of seeing them as just movers of a commodity ... like the execution 'desks' at some international mercantile exchange that operate from under one roof.2

How naive we were!

One day a letter came knocking on our chamber door:

From: WerbeNet Support, Marc Humer
Sent: Wednesday, May 08, 2002 1:38 AM
To: Paul Fjelstad

Dear Mr. Fjelstad,

on some pages of your customer:

you'll find some reports and untrue "facts" of one of our customers Edith Brigitta Fahrenkrog. Can you please ask your customer if he can delete those passages since they are a totally wrong interpretation of what our customer is and does.

We would be glad to hear from you

Sincerely, Marc Humer
Maier Typo & Litho GmbH
Web-Office WerbeNet
Rheinstrasse 44
D-76185 Karlsruhe

In Internet History anything over 12 months off the press qualifies for being treated as if it was ancient papyrus. Certainly the URLs in question had long ago scrolled into the dark and rarely visited regions of our own 'stacks' ... one even coming from the last millennium. Of course, THOCBDC's diligent webmaster, Paul Fjelstad, immediately set about ferreting around in the bowels of 01/04/1bkk/part6.html, balloon/99/oex/ and 00/10/1thai/part6.html until he found the parts that so offended the folks over at Maier Typo & Litho GmbH.

The Board of Directors of The House of Corkscrew Balloon Dot Com then called a special meeting to discuss the matter. Director Fjelstad was asked to make further inquiries as to what in particular was actually bothering the Maier group's client: Edith Brigitta Fahrenkrog.

Mr. Fjelstad wrote:

Dear Mr. Humer,

I have looked at the pages you cite.

I am not sure what you mean when you refer to 'untrue "facts"' and a 'totally wrong interpretation of what [your] customer is and does.'

As you can see, the journals at often refer to small items of interest from the newspapers, and that appears to be what you are referring to. Were there untrue facts or wrong interpretations in the International Herald Tribune? The web pages you mention appear simply to report on ads that appeared in that publication.

Perhaps it would be most helpful if you could specify which facts are true and which are untrue, and if you could say exactly 'what [your] customer is and does', in order to clarify the nature of the problem.

Paul Fjelstad

We received a prompt reply from Germany:

Dear Mr. Fjelstad,

sorry when I am not so precise, my english is a bit rosty.

The problem is, that Mrs. Edith Brigitta Fahrenkrog and the Mrs. Gabriel Thiers-Bense are everything else than the same person - the are absolutely concurrent businesses.

The "untrue" facts are:
The IHT's "Intermarket" is only open for business on Saturdays. Gabriel Thiers-bense has long been its penthouse tenant. Her Munich based 'linkage' service has very little competition in this niche trade; Edith Brigitta Fahrenkrog, also of Germany (Frankfurt), is but a shadow offeror in the business of bringing hunter and prey together.

It would not surprise me if they were one and the same person.3

Mrs Fahrenkrog is 6 years longer in the Herald tribune than Mrs Thiers and has nothing to do with the other woman - she is no shadow offerer at all.

And they are to totally different persons.

I do not force anyone, I just beg you respectivly your customer to cut off oder arrange new this sentence's since those two women are absolute concurrents.

I thank you for your precious time reading this lines.

Best regards

Marc Humer
Maier Typo & Litho GmbH
Web-Office WerbeNet
Rheinstrasse 44
D-76185 Karlsruhe

Ah! Apparently all of this fuss was caused by a casual aside that I had built into one of my earlier journals ... the painful core being:

Edith Brigitta Fahrenkrog, also of Germany (Frankfurt), is but a shadow offeror in the business of bringing hunter and prey together.

It would not surprise me if they were one and the same person.

THOCBDC apologizes for this error. Like with McDonalds and Burger King in the beef-to-eat trade, Edith Brigitta Fahrenkrog and Gabriel Thiers-Bense are totally independent competitors in their own unique 'meat' market.

1 "... a dazzling beauty ... luxuriously living in Paris ... loves sailing ... wants to be spoiled ... upper class tastes ... expects worldwide travel ... expert in dressage and polo"

"... genuine lady ... life experienced ... positive attitude ... reliable ... sports trained figure ... loves dogs ... witty ... contagious laugh ... excellent education ... totally independent"

2 With the other ads in the IHT "FRIENDSHIPS" section there is little or no confusion.

3 Underlining ours, signifying that these are the quoted (and, presumably offensive) words.

Monday, May 13, 2002

The Bangkok Post, The Asian Wall Street Journal and the International Herald Tribune have all been awash with stories about the 'benefits' of breastfeeding. Scientific evidence, according to all of the papers, suggests that the longer a child is nourished with its mother's milk the greater the chance that the suckled child's brain will grow to Einsteinian proportions.

The House of Corkscrew Balloon Dot Com, in its never flagging quest to always make sure that its readers see the flip side of the coin, turned to the Landover Baptist Church (Iowa)1 to see if there was anyone out there who was willing to raise his or her hand and say: "It ain't so!"

Sure enough! Landover Scientist, Dr. Jonathan Edwards and Landover lady, Sister Taffy were not shy in sharing their disdain for this "sinful" and disfiguring activity:

Landover Baptist Creation Scientists then revealed the shocking results of a 4-year study that links breastfeeding to early sexual activity among youngsters. "We found that many young people who engage in breastfeeding, even if they stop at the age of 2 - oftentimes partake in what secular humanists call, 'third-base sexual activity' before marriage," said Dr. Jonathan Edwards. "Our study also concludes that breastfeeding leads to sloppy kissing, drooling, teat fetishes, and cattle buggery." Creation Scientists also expressed concern that the hardened nipples of a Christian woman who is breastfeeding indicate a sinful state of sexual arousal.

Landover lady, Sister Taffy testified at 'The Fight To Stop Breastfeeding' fundraising kickoff party. "I had Ezmirelda, my daughter Rebecca Grace's wet nurse, wean her off the teat when she was old enough to walk to the fridge and pour herself a glass of milk," she said. "Personally, the thought of anything attaching itself to my body and sucking the Holy Ghost life force out of me is revolting. The first thought that comes to mind are those old colored women with their boobies hanging down to their knees. They don't get those big sacks from eating all that watermelon. No, its from having 6-8 of their children leached onto them until they are in their mid-twenties! Glory!"

Yesterday in footnote (1) THOCBDT quoted some of the descriptive terms that are commonly found in "Personal" or "Friendship" advertisements. Though the law generally tolerates what it calls "puffery" in commercial messages, Mr. E.B. of Wateringbury, Kent (England) does not. He writes:


For some years I worked as a typesetter in London before being made redundant by all those new fangled automatic machines. But, during those years on the shop floor I had occasion to share many an after-work pint with the copywriters who worked upstairs. And, Sir, I can assure you that those words in the Personals do not mean what you think they mean. I have taken the liberty to place in brackets what I believe to be the truth. Please see the attachment.

Your Servant in Perpetuity,
(name withheld)

"a dazzling beauty [STRANGE FACIAL FEATURES] ... luxuriously living in Paris [FAT]... loves sailing [COURTS SKIN CANCER]... wants to be spoiled [LACKS OWN MONEY]... upper class tastes [WASTEFUL]... expects worldwide travel [HOMETOWN PROBLEMS]... expert in dressage and polo [NO MARKETABLE SKILLS]"

"genuine lady [CAN USE KNIFE AND FORK IN PUBLIC] ... life experienced [OLD] ... positive attitude [AMPHETAMINE ADDICT] ... reliable [BORING]... sports trained figure [BRUISED AND CALLUSED] ... loves dogs [HATES PEOPLE]... witty [DRINKS IN THE MORNING]... contagious laugh [LAUGHED AT]... excellent education [HOME SCHOOLED]... totally independent [TOTAL BITCH]"

1 Always a good source for contra opinions.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 (Feast of St. John Nepomuk)


Yesterday The House of Corkscrew Balloon Dot Com invited the "It ain't so." folks to chirp in on this fast breaking breastfeeding story: you know, the notion that Sis and Junior will grow up to have bigger brains if Mom just lets them suck her bone-dry during her long milking season. And you sure heard what 'nay-sayers' Doctor Edwards and Sister Taffy had to say about that (see yesterday).

Well, today the pastors themselves want to have their squawk ... and, by Jiminy, it's a mighty negative squawk at that: don't turn Jesus' Big Daddy's fulsome, taut, perky and firmly rounded loving handiwork into a couple of old wrinkly and veiny half-inflated dangling party balloons just so some uppity kid can one-up his father at the multiplication table.

FREEHOLD, IOWA - Church authorities were prompted to make a public statement against breastfeeding last Tuesday when it was found that a number of church ladies had been breastfeeding their children well into adulthood. "Little Randy is nearly 15-years old now," said church mother, Ida Jenkins. "I still breastfeed the boy because I read in some secular magazine somewhere that the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding never really end." It was found that Mrs. Jenkins was nourishing young Randy 'round the clock by draining her teat into a sippy cup and packing it in his Veggie Tales lunchbox. "The youngster was sharing it with other students," said Landover Baptist Junior High School Principal, Gil Higglesworth. "I got suspicious after taking a sip of it myself."

"What needs to happen here, is to just do away with breastfeeding altogether," said Pastor Deacon Fred. "Poor young Christian boys are being weaned into oral gratification from infancy and the whole thing just stinks like the devil's hiney. Our Baptist community comes from the school of thought that when a young boy starts to get hair under his arms that is the sign from God that he is becoming a man and it is time to stop nursing." Pastor Deacon Fred explained that those days are long past, and the time has come to end breastfeeding altogether.

Meanwhile, back at The Oriental:
  1. The rain tent is almost fully up. Dry food by Thursday?
  2. The French Ambassador's new (and now totally finished) private residence is only a five-minute walk away from some 'neighbors' who are about to be kicked off the land.

In today's Big Daily: Morton didn't even have a chance to put his blue bits on the front bits. It was the Koreans who were in front with their cameras. Thais at the rear.

1 How cold or hot was it before he came up with his degrees? Anyone!

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

During the last couple of years Morton has been asked to paste his blue 'bits' on a lot of things. The other night I bumped into him down at The Super Queen and I asked him pointedly: "Morton, what exactly do those rules say? You know, the ones hanging up in your darkroom that tell you when you have to reach for the 'blue'." It was close to midnight and he'd been hammering back the 16oz Carlsbads, so he wasn't in the state of mind to delve into the nuances of what is deemed to be an appropriate breakfast read. So, he just pulled two folded and creased prints from his pocket and said: "You figure!"

Monk and Friend, November 2000 Photo Shoot, May 2002

This morning Watcharee and I took a hotel car up to Ayutthaya to see how the construction on our little river house is coming along.1 Watcharee's family is doing most of the actual building so the job is taking a little longer than anticipated. Though only two bedrooms, two baths, a den, a kitchen and a living room it should serve our weekend needs: shooting mangoes off the trees and watching the high school girls bathe and frolic in the river.

While we were there Watcharee's Mom made us lunch. Delicious!

Also, we visited Watcharee's grandparents who live just up the river. They are great folks.

1 Somewhere around here (Paul?) there are some earlier pictures of the job: when the frames were up ... and a little later when the walls were in place. Incidentally, my friend, Don Bull, is building a brand new lakeside castle over in Virginia (USA) ... complete with a movie inspired 'panic' room ... and his web site is covering its construction on almost a daily basis. In fact, if you look backward in my journal but a few days (or, is it weeks?) you can see how one of Don's mistakenly placed dynamite explosions even managed to kill off a whole kennel of pedigreed dogs. I have to hand it to Don: showing the bad along with the good.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Though Newnes called on May 14th to be the Feast of St. John Nepomuk, Wescott in his CALENDAR OF SAINTS FOR DISBELIEVERS has St. John dished up today1:

John Nepomucen
DIED 1383

This priest, born at Nepomuk in Bohemia, was the Empress Jane's confessor. Her dissolute husband, Wenceslaus IV, whether from jealousy or some other less impulsive motive, tried to torture John into revealing the secrets of the confessional, and finally had him drowned in the river Moldau. Five new stars are said to have appeared immediately, over the bridge from which he was thrown. In art he always has his fingers on his lips.2

He is the patron of silence, bridges, and running water and guards against slander.

1 As does Omer Englebert in his LIVES OF THE SAINTS. It is interesting to note that Englebert takes issue with Wescott over the date of St. John Nepomucen's death, putting it 10 years later in 1393. Could this have been a genuine scholarly difference? Or, possibly something just as simple as one or the other just making a slip of the pen? Or, ... and this is the more convincing explanation ... is it because Englebert himself was born in 1893 (a nice fat exact 500 years after 1393), and that such a round half millennium between his own birth and the 'death' of this saint was just too much of a temptation to resist? Sadly, we'll never know the answer. Englebert also brings into question the reason for the crime; for Englebert the sanctity of the confessional was a false hare ... a loose coin that Wescott was chasing down an unlit corridor. Englebert (a priest, mind you) called it a political murder: Wenceslaus the Idle was pissed at St. John Nepomucen because the latter had "confirmed, contrary to the ruler's will, the election of a new abbot of Kladrau."

2 If Wescott got the date of death wrong (a slip of the pen?), is it also possible that his finger hit the "L" key when he meant to hit the "H"? Is there any independent corroboration that ... "In art he always has his fingers on his lips"  ...? The use of the plural in the word "fingers" suggests strongly that 'hips' and not 'lips' was the sought for word. Common sense sends us down that road, too.

[Mumbles] ... "We're just getting bones now ..."

Friday, May 17, 2002 (188th Anniversary of the Independence of Norway)

It's now time to pass the pen from Bangkok to Berlin.1 From now until the middle of June my good friend, Paul Fjelstad,2 will guide us (and you, too, dear reader) from Berlin to Stockholm to Helsinki and on to St. Petersburg. He always makes an excellent read; please stick around.

As a parting, a couple of dust covers from two of Christopher Moore's 'Patpong' books wish you a wonderful journey and a safe return to Bangkok.

1 Though the first few 'pre-entries' might actually originate in Silverdale, Washington (in a very Northwest region of the USA).

2 Paul is the author of at least half a dozen of our journals: and all of them can be found in the archives at The House of Corkscrew Balloon Dot com.

PS This is for all the guys who used to live at 418 North Frances Street in Madison, Wisconsin. [Particular attention to Ruthie Donkle: our ever vigilant housemother (even though she was only 24 years old at the time and was charged with looking after a dozen 18 year-old Freshman.)].

Hey, our old college housemate is still up to his knee slapping fun:

Beloit Daily News - Saturday, July 21, 2001
... Thomas A. Parsons, 62, of 1352 Dewey Ave., was charged with intentionally manufacturing, distributing or delivering marijuana and storage of a controlled substance. - 4k - Cached - Similar pages

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